GRANIT Data Mapper Wildlife Theme User Guide
What is the GRANIT Data Mapper?
NH GRANIT Data Mapper is a web-based mapping tool offering New Hampshire's communities, agencies and organizations, and the general public access to a comprehensive collection of geospatial data archived in GRANIT. The Data Mapper is part of NH GRANIT, New Hampshire's statewide GIS clearinghouse and managed by NH GRANIT System, Complex Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, www.granit.sr.unh.edu and Research Computing Center, University of New Hampshire, rcc.sr.unh.edu.
(For info about System Requirements, Pop Up Blocker Info, and Frequently Asked Questions, go to the GRANIT Data Mapper website (click here) and click on the "about" button on the bottom left corner of the page.)
How to use the "Wildlife Theme" inside the Data Mapper:
- Click on the "Select a Theme" menu (upper right) and click on "Wildlife." (There are many different themes to use in the Data Mapper some of which include: Floodplains, Land Conservation, and Soils. This User Guide focuses only on the Wildlife Theme.)
On the right hand side of the page is the layer menu. By checking or unchecking the boxes, you turn the layers on or off. After you check or uncheck a box you must click the "apply" button on the bottom of the layer menu for the map to reload with the new request.
For example, if you uncheck the visible and label boxes associated with roads and click "apply," the map changes as seen here:
You can check and/or uncheck several things before hitting apply if you want to change several things at the same time.
To find more information (called metadata) about each of the layers, click on the name of the layer. Another window (like the one shown here with the blue outline) will pop up and give you information like who published the data, when it was published, and a brief description of the layer. For a more detailed description, click on "Full Metadata and Data Download." In this window you can read the full metadata and download the GIS layer from GRANIT to use in another GIS software program.
To see a legend, click on the "legend" button on the bottom of the layer menu. The layer menu will switch to the legend view. Click the "layers" button to return back to the layer menu.
On the top of the webpage is the toolbar. These tools include zooming in, zooming out, panning, previous extent, next extent, identify, select by circle, select by rectangle, select by polygon, clear selection, measure distance, location map, report error, and toolbar help. For more information on how to use these tools, click on toolbar help - the big "?" on the right side of the toolbar.
Wildlife Action Plan Wildlife Habitats
Showing habitats on a map statewide was a high priority of New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan (click here). Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) biologists developed models of habitat. It was not possible to go everywhere in the state to see which habitats were where. It is possible to predict where habitats would be, based on known information. This known information included soils, elevation, climate, landforms, and broad vegetative classes. Based on this data, NHFG predicted the type of vegetation that would grow at that particular location. Additionally, NH Natural Heritage Bureau supplied natural communities data. The NH Land Cover data, which shows locations of various categories of developed and undeveloped land, was also used as well as the National Wetlands Inventory data for wetlands. Click here for more information about the WAP Wildlife Habitat Map.
Sixteen types of habitat could be modeled in this way. There are five matrix forest types: Hemlock Hardwood Pine, Appalachian Oak Pine, Lowland Spruce Fir, Northern Hardwood Conifer, and High Elevation Spruce Fir. There are three freshwater wetlands types: Marsh and Shrub Wetlands, Peatlands, and Floodplain Forests. There are three coastal habitats: Saltmarsh, Dunes, and Coastal Islands. There are three steep slope habitats: Alpine, Cliff, and Rocky Ridge/Talus Slope. And two other small-scale habitats: Pine Barrens and Grasslands. Descriptions of these habitats can be found on Fish and Game's website (click here).
Since the habitats are defined by vegetation type and structure, but based on the needs of wildlife, most forested wetlands are included as part of the forest habitats. Since our rare grassland bird species have specific nesting habitat needs that include a minimum acreage, the grasslands were mapped at 25 acres and above. Grasslands include croplands as they could easily be converted to grasslands. Due to feedback from conservation commission members, the next edition of the data will have all grasslands mapped.
Each of the 16 types of habitat can be turned on or off in GRANIT's Data Mapper program. The five matrix forest types, Hemlock Hardwood Pine, Appalachian Oak Pine, Lowland Spruce Fir, Northern Hardwood Conifer, and High Elevation Spruce Fir, plus Forest Floodplain are visible at 1:4,000,000 and larger. The rest of the habitat types will not show up on the theme menu, legend, or screen until you set the scale less than 1:250,000 or you zoom in to a regional town level. To set the scale, click on the set scale drop-down menu and click on a pre-set scale. Or use the zoom-in tool to select the area you want to see.
Wildlife Action Plan Highest Ranked Habitat by Condition
NHFG biologists developed "condition filters" to provide data and maps that show which habitats are in the best ecological condition in the state. These filters are a set of GIS data that indicate to what degree a particular patch of habitat has good biological diversity (particularly in terms of rare species), is connected to other similar patches in the landscape, and is negatively impacted by humans. There is a different filter for each habitat, but each filter includes biological, landscape, and human impact factors. Click here for more information about the WAP Highest Ranked Wildlife Habitat Map.
All 16 habitat types were assessed for condition as well as all surface waters. Streams and rivers were assessed in watershed units developed by the US Geological Survey (HUC 12). The HUC 12 watershed units can be viewed on the data mapper by clicking on Subwatershed Condition. The best way to see these units is to turn off at least the habitat layers so the back drop of NH is gray. Making this layer active, clicking identify, and clicking somewhere on the map, will allow you to see the name of the watershed units. The watershed units, which are generally smaller than towns, are shown in gray with dark borders:
All habitats, surface waters, and watersheds were assessed for conditions by category. For each category (biological, landscape and human impact), a single score was calculated by weighting all factors equally. Then the scores from each category were weighted evenly to come up with a single Condition score. These scores can be found by checking the active box for the habitat(s), clicking on the "identify" button on the toolbar, and then clicking an area on the map. You can also select a larger area using one of the selection buttons on the toolbar and then clicking "identify" on your selected area. This will bring up another window with additional information about that habitat -- including the scores, which can be used to compare habitat condition within any geographic area.
For use in conservation planning, the habitats were then ranked to show the habitats that were Highest Ranking in the State. This was done so that the top 15% by area of each forest type, and top 10% by area of the other habitats were considered highest ranking. Since the three coastal habitats and alpine habitats are so rare, all of them are top ranked. A few other locations, that of critically imperiled species, were also added as top ranked so that these critical habitats, even if degraded, were considered as a high priority. These areas are outlined in pink with pink hash marks on the data mapper.
Since NH is so ecologically diverse, the habitats were then ranked within their ecoregional subsection. The Nature Conservancy had developed ecoregions, geographical areas with similar physical characteristics that influence biology, and these were used in the models. The top 15% by area of forests and the top 50% of other terrestrial habitats in each ecoregion are considered Highest Ranking in the Biological Region. If these were not already top ranked in the state, they are outlined in green with green hash marks on the data mapper. There are 9 ecoregional subsections in NH and they can be seen on the data mapper by making the ecoregional subsections visible on the layer menu and zooming out to see the entire state. The best way to see these regions is to turn off at least the habitat layers so the backdrop of NH is gray - the ecoregion boundaries are shown here in green. To see the name of the ecoregion, make this layer active, click "identify," and click somewhere on the map.
To provide a similar comparison for surface waters and wetlands, The Nature Conservancy also developed watershed groupings, which are geographic areas with similar features that influence aquatic biology. The top 50% of wetland habitats, all floodplain forests, and 30% of surface waters were also included in the Highest Ranked Habitat in Biological Region. If these were not already top ranked in the state, they are outlined in green with green hash marks on the data mapper. The watershed groupings can be seen on the data mapper by making the watershed groupings visible on the layer menu and zooming out to see the entire state. The best way to see these regions is to turn off at least the habitat layers so the backdrop of NH is gray. To see the name of the groupings, make this layer active, click "identify," and click on a particular grouping on the map.
Habitats will not stay in good condition if the surrounding landscape is destroyed. This is particularly true of surface waters. A third ranking, Supporting Landscapes, consists of the upland part of the watershed for HUC 12 river and streams, some very intact forest blocks, some known locations of WAP species and some locations of exemplary natural communities. These areas are outlined in orange with orange hash marks on the data mapper.
In addition to using the colors to identify these three rankings, using the identify button on habitat areas (habitats must be active to see this data) will also give the Priority as Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3. Tier 1 refers to the Highest Ranked Habitat in NH (pink), Tier 2 refers to Highest Ranked Habitat in Biological Region (green), and Tier 3 refers to Supporting Landscape (orange).
Printing a Map
To print a map in GRANIT Data Mapper, click on the tab labeled "UTILITIES" above the Layer Menu and click "print" on the bottom of the menu. Follow prompts to print a map with legend.
New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan
Maps were only a part of New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan. You can download the entire Plan in pdf format, read more about the habitats, and find an event or workshop featuring New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan -- just click here to go to www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Wildlife/wildlife_plan.htm.
GRANIT offers numerous workshops on GIS, GPS, and this Data Mapper program. Check their website for more information: www.granit.unh.edu.
N.H. Wildlife Action Plan page